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Richard Galliano

J.D.: Tell us, Richard, what is the difference between the direction that you took in your creation "New Musette,” and traditional performance?

RG: A break from traditional context, it’s perhaps a combination between the two - the union of classical music performers with jazz musicians.

J.D.: Your biography says that you started playing when you were 4 years old. How difficult was it for a child to hold the instrument and how did you manage it?

RG: My first instrument was a small, toy-like accordion (you can see my photo on the "Disk information" section in Mozart's CD).

 

J.D.: Do you really think that getting to know Claude Nougaro initiated the beginning of your jazz career? Please tell us about your work with Chet Baker.

RG: Cooperation with male singers such as Claude Noagro, Serge Reggiani, Serge Gainsbourg and women like Barbara (Ed.) MoniqueAndre, and Juliet Greco formed me as a composer. First and foremost, I always thought about the "Song", and then created a theme for it, so as to enable the performer to improvise and perform. But the most important thing for me is the "Melody". That’s the way it was with Baker. He is also a singer, but he plays on the trumpet. The meeting with Chet was unforgettable. Unforgettable and eternal.

 

J.D.: Tell us about the book. Did you write it with your father or did he just give you advice? How difficult was it to write about studying the accordion? Considering it’s a more practical matter.

RG: I am happy that I managed to write a general book with my father Lucien Galliano. He is an excellent teacher, and he still teaches at the age of 91. I think that our book is a good work, and if you use the method described in it, you can learn how to play at ease.

         

J.D.: Can you say today that after going a long way classical music still prevails and you prefer it to other directions?

RG: Classical performance was important, creative, and rich. But it was also a short transitional period. Now I want to perform songs that will be 100% mine, which can complement and accompany my life. Compositions like "Tango pour Claude, La valse à Margaux, and Opale Concerto".

 

J.D.: This is your first performance in Baku. People are looking forward to meeting you. What should they expect at the concert?

RG: Believe me, this will be a big surprise for me and for my Baku fans. I look forward to seeing Baku!

J.D.: What was different about your "Festival des Nuits de Nacre"? And why did it not continue?

RG: For several years I organized the Festival des Nuits de Nacre. It was created to show the hidden possibilities of the accordion, and of course the main goal was to invite my favorite musicians, such as Piazzolla, Sivuka, Tileman, Noagaro, and Joe Privat. Later on, I thought that it was time to take up my own career.

 

J.D.: Why did you want to record "New York Tango" in the US? Did the choice of musicians cause you to win the "Victoire de la musique" award?

RG: At that time, I needed exactly the energy that was in New York, which I could not find it in Paris. I knew that the musicians I imagined for this project were in America. It was a collaboration with the legendary Al Foster, who worked with one of the most talented guitarists, George Mraz, and Miles Davis. Looking back, this project and the music composed to it were successful. That is, I think that "Victoire de la musique" has brought us worthy results.

J.D.: The list of musicians that you collaborated with blows our mind. Their names speak for themselves. Who would you single out from the list? What about Yan Garbarek?

RG: Every partnership was very interesting and creative. Especially our work with Eddie Luis, Bireli Lagren, Barbara, Nugaro and Chet Baker. I performed on the same stage with Garbarek only once during a very pleasant concert with Michel Petrucciani and Manu Katche. I have very positive memories of this concert.

THE START OF OZELLA MUSIC WAS ACTUALLY

BECAUSE I WAS LOOKING FOR A RECORD LABEL TO RELEASE MY OWN MUSIC. I AM AN ACOUSTIC GUITAR PLAYER AND MY MUSIC DID NOT REALLY FIT INTO THE CATALOGUES OF THE EXISTING LABELS.

 

I am an acoustic guitar player and my music did not really fit into the catalogues of the existing labels.

 

So I founded Ozella Music, which by the way is a fantasy word created by our daughter. She was at that time about two years old, just learning to talk. On a sunday morning we were all sitting around the breakfast table and I was playing a brand-new tune on the guitar.

 

The music flows really nicely and I was thinking for a name of the song, then Elisa said something in her baby language that sounded like “Otschella”, and so the tune had a name, I decided to write it “Ozella”. So first it was a name for a song and later for a record label.

Is it difficult to navigate in the endless music flow?

Yes it is a flow and it is nice to be part of it. Sometimes you have to navigate, sometimes you can just let it flow. It is like an adventure and you are astonished where music takes you, sometimes to new countries and foreign shores.

When choosing a musician for your label, whom do you prefer?

We are lucky to have many wonderful artists, excellent musicians and composers from around the world. Many from the Nordic countries. I am very happy that we are planning a release of an artist from your country that I like very much, his music has much heart and soul: Rain Sultanov is a great saxophone player and composer, with his music he has a lot to say.

Is CD release financially profitable today?

To release music these days is not very easy but we can exist as long as we release CDs as well as Vinyls, high resolution music files like 24 Bit flacs as well as mp3s and streaming. It is necessary to have the music in all these formats. Much work, but important for the business. Otherwise we would not be able to reach all listeners.

 

I saw a huge audio library in your office. These were mainly vinyls. Do you have nostalgia for the time when you played more?

Yes all this old records give me a good feeling, it is nice to listen to old vinyls from the 70s. I don’t do it too often, but sometimes on a Sunday afternoon…

I have also seen a great instrument, the sitar - you made with your own hands. What is the relationship between you and your music? What is music for you?

Oh that is a complicated question, because it is difficult to find words.

The good thing is that music needs no words and reaches the listener in other ways. It can reach the soul of a human being directly, without words, without using the intellect. When you listen to music, also when you play music, you can forget everything that you have once learned or studied about music. You are suddenly connected to an endless flow…

As a young man you were interested in Indian music. Did this passion influence your musical taste or was it ephemeral?

I don’t listen very much to indian music anymore, but these tonal and rhythmical concepts are definitely great. This is very high culture, the musicians are extremely well educated. This music has a standard of it’s own.

Your work always means life - nature, world... What do you mean, what is your message to the listener?

I only want to built a platform for the music, the musicians are the ones who spread their message. Yes I probably filter this a bit and as you mentioned natural and handmade music, sometimes meditative and spherical sounds are the center. But it also can be something else, the music has to grab me.

Is there anything that annoys you today in the music world? What would you like to fix?

There is so much wonderful music, so many great artists, so let’s concentrate on this. We are all able to pick the good things and it is definitely wonderful to find a precious pearl in the dirt.

 

How do you feel about the fact that today people download music to the media more often than get it in the stores?

Yes this makes the business a bit difficult, but times are changing and I trust that all things lead to the good. After too much music streaming people probably want again to have something they can hold in their hands and they probably think about paying the musicians and composers they like very much.

Dagobert Boehm:

Tord Gustavsen in Baku Jazz Fest

Tord, you spent your childhood in musical environment, actually you are playing and improvising almost since childhood. Do you think that this is the fundamental factor for beginning of your musical career?

Yes, the influence and inspiration planted in me from my father playing the piano with me and singing with me from very early on, are certainly among the most important elements of my musical foundation.

Is it difficult to navigate in the endless music flow?

Yes it is a flow and it is nice to be part of it. Sometimes you have to navigate, sometimes you can just let it flow. It is like an adventure and you are astonished where music takes you, sometimes to new countries and foreign shores.

When choosing a musician for your label, whom do you prefer?

We are lucky to have many wonderful artists, excellent musicians and composers from around the world. Many from the Nordic countries. I am very happy that we are planning a release of an artist from your country that I like very much, his music has much heart and soul: Rain Sultanov is a great saxophone player and composer, with his music he has a lot to say.

Is CD release financially profitable today?

To release music these days is not very easy but we can exist as long as we release CDs as well as Vinyls, high resolution music files like 24 Bit flacs as well as mp3s and streaming. It is necessary to have the music in all these formats. Much work, but important for the business. Otherwise we would not be able to reach all listeners.

 

I saw a huge audio library in your office. These were mainly vinyls. Do you have nostalgia for the time when you played more?

Yes all this old records give me a good feeling, it is nice to listen to old vinyls from the 70s. I don’t do it too often, but sometimes on a Sunday afternoon…

I have also seen a great instrument, the sitar - you made with your own hands. What is the relationship between you and your music? What is music for you?

Oh that is a complicated question, because it is difficult to find words.

The good thing is that music needs no words and reaches the listener in other ways. It can reach the soul of a human being directly, without words, without using the intellect. When you listen to music, also when you play music, you can forget everything that you have once learned or studied about music. You are suddenly connected to an endless flow…

As a young man you were interested in Indian music. Did this passion influence your musical taste or was it ephemeral?

I don’t listen very much to indian music anymore, but these tonal and rhythmical concepts are definitely great. This is very high culture, the musicians are extremely well educated. This music has a standard of it’s own.

Your work always means life - nature, world... What do you mean, what is your message to the listener?

I only want to built a platform for the music, the musicians are the ones who spread their message. Yes I probably filter this a bit and as you mentioned natural and handmade music, sometimes meditative and spherical sounds are the center. But it also can be something else, the music has to grab me.

Is there anything that annoys you today in the music world? What would you like to fix?

There is so much wonderful music, so many great artists, so let’s concentrate on this. We are all able to pick the good things and it is definitely wonderful to find a precious pearl in the dirt.

 

How do you feel about the fact that today people download music to the media more often than get it in the stores?

Yes this makes the business a bit difficult, but times are changing and I trust that all things lead to the good. After too much music streaming people probably want again to have something they can hold in their hands and they probably think about paying the musicians and composers they like very much.

Rauf Aliyev

A + A group of companies, has become one of the main organizers of Baku Jazz Festival 2016

For a long time I wanted to interview this incredibly modest man, whose huge role in the development of modern Azerbaijani jazz is obvious for many people.  But he refused, perhaps because he thinks that person should not advertise his/her merits. And his merits are long-term ones, it's a long list of names and situations where without him there would be no disk, concert, magazine, festival, and even global recognition. Rauf Aliyev - the hero of my today's interview, interesting person, very respected among people of culture.

This year, the A + A Events Company, founded by Rauf Aliyev, on the basis of its A + A group of companies, has become one of the main organizers of the largest jazz event of the city - Baku Jazz Festival 2016. I talked to him about this event.

JD.: I know that recently you visited the Montreux Jazz Festival, here I would like to start the conversation. Which impressions do you have of this jazz festival? What are pros and cons?

Rauf Aliyev: Well, I visit Montreux Jazz Festival every year.

I believe that this festival is a kind of the European jazz Mecca. And this year it has been quite interesting. I think that this year, the selection of artists in Montreux resonates with the composition of the performers who are invited to the Baku Jazz Festival. But Montreux is Montreux. Naturally quite well-known performers are dying to perform there. We cannot say that this year it starred with known names, but nevertheless it was quite interesting. True jazz fans never run behind the names. It is always interesting to hear something new, young, amazing virtuosity of the beginner, that has happened this year and we have enjoyed many young musicians. Brazilians were quite popular this year, and in principle, in recent years, at each festival. That is, Latin jazz has shown its difference from the rest ones. This is, in general, very interesting multi-faceted jazz.

JD.: We all know that you are a person who for many years supported jazz in Baku (later we'll talk about it more). This year you are one of the main organizers of the Baku Jazz Festival. And you are also a director of the Baku Jazz Competition 2016 - Youth Competition. I know it's very, very important for Azerbaijan.

Rauf Aliyev: Leila, if you remember, I was the initiator of the Baku's first competition of young pianists. It was about 5-6 years ago, I guess. And I liked the fact that it was quite a serious approach of not only the young performers, but also their teachers. That's what I liked then in this competition. Many of the names of those freshmen today have become quite well-known.

Then I liked the approach of such selfless teachers. We often complain about the fact that the education system we have ceased to be interested in practicing the people, students and pupils. The spirit of the competition between teachers and first-year students of Asaf Zeynally Music College and Secondary Music School named after Bulbul impressed me. In general I would say that I refer to jazz a little differently. Azerbaijan is famous throughout the world for the oil production, but we are well known for the jazz musicians also. We are probably close to jazz. And my support to jazz is based on the fact that this is something our own. We do not invite foreign artists to represent our jazz somewhere at festivals. Absolutely not cursing and bemoaning the fact that in other areas ​​Azerbaijan is represented by other nations. This is normal. But this happens when we cannot find worthy representatives in a particular area of ​​life. Then we resort to such methods, the common ones by the way. And jazz is just one area where we have our wonderful representatives. We should work with them. Unfortunately, it is always associated with the finances and so on. But I think that with the right approach we can solve these issues, in fact, we need not so big money. You know the story with Shahin Novrasli.

JD.: Of course, this is a very good story. But if we continue the theme of the youth competition in 2006, Isfar was the winner of our Baku Jazz competition, and then he went to Montreux and got the first place there. And I know that in addition to Shahin, you  supported Isfar  also in his development as a musician.

Rauf Aliyev: Well, I should remember the famous saying "Talents need help, untalented persons will break through themselves." This is the very case. But the same spirit of competition at Montreux, it just does not have a little bit heavy background, as in our competitions. Our people want to put forward someone. It is absolutely not felt in Montreux. 

İSFAR SARABSKİ

RAIN SULTANOV AND ISFAR SARABSKI'S CONCERT WITH A NEW PROJECT WILL BE HELD WITHIN BAKU JAZZ FESTIVAL 2016. THE ORGAN, SAXOPHONE AND PIANO ARE THE THREE INSTRUMENTS THAT PROMISE A MAGIC SOUND AND UNCONVENTIONAL EMOTIONS.

OUR INTERVIEW WITH ISFAR SARABSKI IS ABOUT THIS AND HIS RECENT MUSICAL STORIES.

Leyla Efendiyeva: Isfar, people think you are a lucky man. Do you think so?

Isfar: In principle, for the moment I haven't had any disappointments that I was unlucky or that something went wrong. Thanks God, there were chances in my creative work, there were opportunities to find the way to some events, to perform, and everything always worked out very well. Sometimes I even set goals that seemed to be unattainable. But if you make efforts and you really have a mind, I think you can achieve anything.

L.E.: How much is it difficult for you to reach these goals? May it be so that during the performance you forget that it is difficult? How does it happen?

Isfar: It's just interesting to me. But sometimes there are moments when I make a stop, I have no wish. This is what I don't like. I always try to set newer and newer goals. This is somewhat like a mechanism inside me. And this is my permanent state. Without this state I feel lazy, bored and melancholic which is the most dreadful situation for me. That is why I always try to set new goals for myself and pursue them. I may need much time for that, but I will always try to achieve my aims.